Sometimes something happens that jolts you back to reality and hits you with a big dose of perspective. That happened to me last week. As my clock radio droned on and I kept hitting the snooze button, I heard fragmented bits about a tsunami in Japan. I wasn’t completely awake, so I wasn’t sure if I had dreamt those words.
As soon as I came downstairs, I checked the news to see devastating images: inexplicable water damage, fires out of control, and boats and cars being thrown everywhere. It actually didn’t look real. But it was.
The previous nights I had been tense. I would wake up with my teeth clenched and my head spinning with nervous thoughts. Worry is nothing new for me and my mind had been filled with anxious thoughts about my four-year old preschooler. I was fretting about a game that boys are playing at recess called “bad guy”; about him starting Pre-K next year and being away from me an extra hour; and about whether I was too hard on him for not being a good listener the other day. I could go on and on with the worries, but as a mom, I don’t think that ever ends.
That particular morning, however, while looking at the television and trying to comprehend the massive tragedy that had occurred, I realized that my worries were so ridiculously small. People in Japan have lost everything. Why am I wasting so much precious time worrying?
As parents, it is sometimes easy to get lost in the day-to-day routine of life. There are days when I’m so tired, that I don’t feel like reading two stories before bedtime. There are days when I know I was short with my son because he asked me “Why?” too many times. And, of course, there are moments when making dinner doesn’t seem like a whole lot of fun. As humans, we fall short of being perfect parents all the time. It happens.
Since the day of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, though, I have embraced the moments that I often take for granted. I have been playing with my little boy before naptime and we take our time creating different pictures on his Etch-a-Sketch. I watch my daughter “cook” in her kitchen, which is endlessly entertaining at 16 months old. At the end of the day, whether the naps start at 1:30 or 2:00 pm, sometimes it just doesn’t matter.
We all need to take a step back sometimes and look at the blessings in our life. It is easy to overlook the good and to only focus on what is wrong. I know that I do it all too often. Life, however, is often times unpredictable. The universe is sometimes volatile and unsettling. So, tonight, read an extra book to your child, make funny voices for the different characters (my son loves that!), and have fun. Hug your babies extra tight and appreciate the moments that you have together. Childhood only happens once, right?